Rafael Nadal is playing amazing tennis at the 2013 U.S. Open tournament, and the Spanish legend will make short work of French star Richard Gasquet in the semifinals to secure his place in the championship match.
Which star will advance to the finals?
In his five victories thus far in Flushing Meadows, Nadal has dropped just one set (lost the first to Philipp Kohlschreiber in the fourth round) and is the only player left in the field not to have his serve broken.
Against a player like Gasquet, who is similarly built to Nadal, it will be imperative that he is serving well. With only six break points through the entire Grand Slam tournament, the Spanish star will have his French opponent constantly off balance with his elite ball striking.
Nadal has also moved closer to the baseline and has even found himself right on it throughout this tournament. The less vertical movement he must make will help reduce the issues he has endured with his knees flaring up and quicken the pace of his games.
Gasquet doesn’t have the speed or endurance to hang with Nadal when he is playing at this high of a level. The Spanish star is tough to beat on a normal day, but with Nadal conscientiously pushing the tempo of the matches, he is almost unstoppable.
It is worth noting that despite his porous record against Nadal as a professional (0-10), Gasquet owns a victory over his foe when both men were just 13 years old. The stars laughed off the talk from the media about the now-infamous junior match, per ESPN, but this shows the utter domination of Nadal.
Nadal holds the definitive mental edge over his opponent Saturday, and tennis fans should expect another one-sided battle in the semifinals.
The Spanish star must go on to win the tournament (he would face either Novak Djokovic or Stanislas Wawrinka in the finals) or this utter domination of the field will go unheralded.